Letter to the Editor: Why are Palatine Township Trustees Paid?

Palatine resident Vicki Wilson asks why Palatine Township trustees are paid to serve.

Before tomorrow's Palatine Township primary, it's critical the community is aware of a certain piece of information.

Before I begin, I want to start by saying I have never understood why the Palatine Township Trustees are paid for their duties. Why is that a paid position? They meet monthly, just like the District 15 and District 211 Boards of Education. However, being on a Board of Ed is an unpaid volunteer position.

Why the difference? 

One could easily argue a Board of Education position has significantly more responsibility, more stress, more visibility, a larger time commitment, and more impact on the community. It certainly, without a doubt, has much more impact on our property taxes. I strongly urge the new Trustees to think about this and develop a course of action to fix this anomaly. It may not be easy but nothing worth doing ever is. I realize "it's always been this way" - that is answer I received when I posed this question at a forum - but that's not an answer or a reason to continue getting paid for something that should be volunteer, in my opinion.

Anyway, back to my initial reason for writing.

Last September, a pay increase for the Trustee positions was voted in. Now, given my stance on this position being paid at all, one can imagine my shock to hear about an increase.

My source is the meeting minutes from September 2012: http://www.palatinetownship.com/storage/board-minutes/9-24-12%20Minutes.pdf

Here is the part of which to take note:

"There is a potential $900 increase in Trustee salaries, in the event that the increased per diem meeting allowance were maximized."


Ayes: Farina, Huley, Goes, Langlotz-Johnson, Fleming

Nays: None

So, there you have it. Five 'yes' votes and zero 'no' votes. Does that make sense to you? It sure doesn't to me.

Please vote tomorrow.

Vicki Wilson

Palatine resident

Editor's note: Letters to the Editor are presented as they are originally submitted by our readers. Palatine Patch neither agrees nor disagrees with the opinions presented. 

Bill February 26, 2013 at 01:01 AM
Agreed. Why would any local politician fight for the same seat for decades? That is so dysfunctional that it's unbelievable that Fleming and Powers are tying to hold their seats for 20 years. Think about that. Think about the type of person it takes to not simply move aside, mentor another person, provide for a healthy way of doing things. Why would they lie on campaign mailers to hold on to a seat which is supposed to be a civic duty anyway? Do you see the mentality at work? The one where it becomes about them, about making money, but not about simply a civic duty? These people need to go. Vote them OUT!
Shawn February 26, 2013 at 01:14 AM
Trustees should be paid, the amount they get is minimal compared to the budgets they control. Do you also think senators and congressman should work for free? Why don't we all work for free and see how that tanks our economy? Earn and spend makes the world go round. Our countries largest contributor to the GDP(gross domestic product ) is consumer spending. Can't spend if you don't earn. We are not a socialist nation.
Informed citizen February 26, 2013 at 03:15 PM
Is this common with all the surrounding suburbs? I do not believe that they are paid in Rolling Meadows, but I could be wrong.
Vicki Wilson February 26, 2013 at 06:39 PM
Shawn - I am comparing Township Trustees to Board of Education Members and pointing out the stark contrasts in pay vs. duties. One gets paid and one doesn't and the one that doesn't has a much tougher job. These are part-time elected positions - not full-time employment.
Vicki Wilson February 26, 2013 at 06:44 PM
My main purpose for writing was to point out those who voted for an increase. Whether you agree or disagree with the idea of the Trustees getting paid, I doubt there are any folks in this economy who agree a part-time elected position like this deserves any sort of increase. That's why I support and urge others to support Kevin O'Connell, Julie Johnson, and Jason Hillenbrand for Trustee. Lisa Moran for Clerk.
Palatine Watches You February 26, 2013 at 10:32 PM
Ms. Wilson, again, you are a political hack. I believe most city councils members get paid don't they? What exactly do you do to help your community? Also check the minutes, the trustees voted pay decreases for the major office holders who are paid over $24K!!! That is true leadership. Also FOIA and see which trustee's even claim the lousy $50 stipend for a meeting, I bet you'll find some who do not.
Palatine Watches You February 26, 2013 at 10:38 PM
Also any change in pay is for the incoming board. Take this up with the state legislature and have them remove the pay for all positions of all townships in the state. Also take a look at the ridiculous pay other townships receive. As for your claim about The Board of Education???? When we look at our tax bill, and see the outlandish increases in property taxes, (MOSTLY FROM D15 and D211), it is a wonder people can even live here compared to the paltry Township tax bill. Wake up!!!!
Vicki Wilson February 26, 2013 at 11:53 PM
As I stated, the Trustees voted for a decrease in salary for the Supervisor and Clerk but voted for a potential salary INCREASE for their OWN positions if re-elected. This is not an issue for the Illinois General Assembly. They have bigger issues. We are supposed to handle our local issues on a local level and be fiscally responsible with our local money. The General Assembly typically gets involved when we fail to handle our business locally. What other Townships do ,well...2 wrongs don't make a right. As for your tax bill, the District 15 budget alone is $145 million for this year. The Township budget is about 2 million. Of course the Township portion of our bills is extremely small compared to the schools. The Board of Ed Members are responsible for a much larger amount of money, have more responsibilities, more time commitment, etc, etc, and they are unpaid. Just pointing out the hypocrisy.
Catherine February 27, 2013 at 12:28 AM
Palatine, I don't know Vicki personally, but I do know she is active in the community and not a hack. I'm with her in that Township elected officials shouldn't get any more for their involvement than School District or Village Boards. The Township has far less to manage than they did when I was growing up in Palatine. Some say the Township isn't even needed anymore. I'm not sure I'm there yet, but, I do believe the boards that manage our schools, villages, park districts, have more impact on the community at large than the township has.
Palatine60067 February 27, 2013 at 11:37 AM
When you say Rolling Meadows do you mean the city? I am almost certain the city officials are paid a salary. Rolling Meadows is in Palatine Township and the township officials are paid a salary.
Palatine60067 February 27, 2013 at 11:48 AM
In many instances elected officials are entitled to a pension after "x" number of years of service. This elected position was a "side job" for many years with perks and a great way to make extra money for the family nest egg. While this position was not a 40-hour a week position, it did require a certain number of hours of time.
Palatine60067 February 27, 2013 at 12:46 PM
Congrats to the winners of the Palatine Township primary! I was sorry to see one of the incumbents for trustee remained while the one we wanted on the general ballot did not. Like many of my neighbors, we enjoyed the two slates of candidates. It shows the start of a change in Palatine's Republican organization. Mr. Powers made an appearance at our house about 10 days ago looking for votes. Interesting, this is only the second or third time in the 25 plus years we lived in our home that he came looking for our votes. Well Mr. Powers, you received zero votes from this residence. Anyone who feels his name is needed on the side of the township trucks has a very large ego. We hope you were humbled by your loss. My family voted against "Bunco Babe" - nice photo - Ms. Fleming who we never had the opportunity to meet in all the years she was in office.


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